Way back at the start of my GNU/Linux journey, I had an old 300MHz Celeron machine with a whopping 40GB drive. But on that computer, I ran Windows 2K, Gentoo Linux and FreeBSD. I spent most of my time in Gentoo Linux unless it had something to do with Macromedia Fireworks or Dreamweaver since there was no chance of running those programs with Wine on Linux.
A bit later on I turned that machine into a XAMP server (Unix, Apache, MySQL and PHP) which also ran Sendmail and worked as a mail server for me, my domains and my friends as well. That server served me for more than 3 years and it ran as stable as a server could! My belief is that it was because of FreeBSD.
So, yesterday I decided to play around with my Lenovo T470 and installed FreeBSD blindly on it and just went with it. Here is my experience thus far.
Well, the installation was much easier than I remembered. It has most likely been changed for ease of use. After the installation, I was greeted with a blank, black screen with a login prompt.
Now, coming from a Linux desktop it was fairly strange to see this and I was somewhat waiting for the DE to start up and show me a login screen. But I figured out pretty quickly that I hadn’t gotten any option for anything GUI-wise, so I went on another computer to check out if Ports are still the main way to install packages or if there was a binary package manager now.
Well, turns out there is! PKG is the tool and wow, it works wonders.
The first thing I did was to install Gnome by using the command:
pkg install gnome3
Easy enough right? Well, no. When I got to the Gnome desktop there was no familiar default background enabled nor were there a lot of applications installed that I would have expected. So after a small search on DuckDuckGo, I found a post on how you need to install Gnome with a bit more.
So I went with that post and ran the following command:
pkg install gnome-desktop gdm xorg gnome3
That got the whole Gnome3 system installed and I was able to use sound, video and more.
And to my surprise, I saw that the stable version of Gnome running on FreeBSD was Gnome 41.2, which is only a .1 version behind what Fedora 35 is running. So, it’s pretty close to the newest version running on any OS I have running here at home.
To see if all apps were installed I opened the first app that came to mind, Cheese, but to my surprise, it didn’t detect a webcam although it is built into the laptop. Again, because I’m too used to Linux and how open it is, I forget how secure some other operating systems can be. So, in another search on DuckDuckGo I found this post where the writer talks about the added requirements I need to fix in order for the webcam to work.
So according to the site the steps are:
pkg install webcamd
echo 'webcamd_enable="YES"' >> /etc/rc.conf
echo 'cuse_load="YES"' >> /boot/loader.conf
pw groupmod webcamd -m USERNAME
After that, a quick reboot and everything was working.